Strengthening ties with China
5 December 2007
The University of Sydney has underlined its commitment to developing high level international links with a series of major events held recently in China.
China's two top universities, Peking University and Tsinghua University, both hosted special "Sydney Days" in November to showcase research and student links.
Two years ago the University of Sydney was honoured to be the first foreign university to hold a graduation ceremony in the Great Hall of the People, one of Beijing's most famous buildings.
This year the University of Sydney held graduation ceremonies in Guangzhou and Beijing and was privileged to be recognized by the top universities, showing it has made significant strides towards forming a lasting relationship with key players in the People's Republic.
"We have implemented different levels of interactions with the two universities, and have achieved a more comprehensive and stronger relationship," said Peter Dodd, the Director of International Projects.
These relationships take time to develop. "Beijing is a city full of cultural confidence," said Professor John Hearn, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International). "You have to show your real understanding and respect, but be confident as well."
A further indication of the University's standing and support from Chinese authorities is that the China Scholarship Council has more than doubled the number of students it will send to Sydney next year from 11 to 25.
In other initiatives, a new Australia-China Centre for Research in Chinese Medicines (ACCRCM) was announced by NSW Premier Morris Iemma.
The Centre is to be established as joint collaboration between the University of Sydney and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou to develop and examine the effectiveness of Chinese traditional medicine and work out how it can be integrated with Western medicine.
"Sydney has taken a decisive step towards acknowledging the importance of TCM and trying to make the most of its value for the rest of the world," said Professor Hearn.
One of Sydney University's newest international projects, the Confucius Institute, will be developed in partnership with Fudan University following the signing of an agreement in Shanghai between officials of the two universities. The new institute is expected to open early next year to promote a better understanding of Chinese language and culture to Australians.
Meanwhile the Faculty of Medicine has signed a memorandum of understanding with another top university in Shanghai, Jiaotong University. The agreement covers a wide range of collaborations including student exchanges, joint research, joint symposia and bilingual teaching.
2008 will be a momentous year for Beijing and China with the Olympic Games. Sydney University will also be heavily involved with around 15 of its elite athletes expected to be competitors. Linked with the Olympics, a "What makes a champion?" event, designed by the University's Centre for the Mind working closely with the International Olympic Committee, will look at what distinguishes champion performers on and off the sports field.
Contact: Andrew Potter
Phone: 02 9351 4514, 0414 998 521